UIW Celebrates 2024 Retirees and Their Legacy of Service

May 30, 2024

On Tuesday, May 28 the UIW community gathered in Our Lady’s Chapel to celebrate nearly 40 Incarnate Word family members for their decades of service before they enter retirement. With terms ranging from five to 38 years, all recognized retirees have made a positive impact during their time with the University. The group of retirees included bus drivers, groundkeepers, instructors, administrators and many others, representing the various UIW branches that make the institution “One Word.”

Surrounded by their families, friends and community, the latest UIW retirees were honored with a special liturgy, which was coordinated with the help of Sr. Walter Maher, CCVI, vice president of Mission and Ministry. She expressed that she has a great amount of respect and reverence for all the collaborators in the Mission and that she wanted this liturgy to reflect these sentiments.

“Everything in the liturgy such as the readings, music, etc., was intentionally chosen to honor all who have served the University with deep commitment, passion and dedication,” explained Sr. Walter. “Each person gave their very best to bring the Mission alive and to reflect the Mission from their unique perspectives, such as care of grounds, exercise of hospitality and going the extra mile to meet an urgent need.”

Sr. Walter delivered an original blessing at the service, expressing to God her appreciation that He sent such remarkable people who helped to continue the University’s legacy. She hopes His presence will continue to be with each of them as they explore new horizons and that they also remember their role as part of the fabric of the Incarnate Word community.

"What I loved the most about serving as an admissions processing specialist is that I contributed to a vital service to the growth and success of the University,” reflected Elaine Hernandez, who is retiring after an impressive 38 years of dedicated service. "I enjoyed the beautiful Mass that was held in our honor and heartfelt blessings from both Father Hector Kalaluka and Sr. Walter Maher."

“The Mass was beautiful,” added Andrea Cyterski-Acosta, who has been at UIW for 26 years, most recently as the associate dean of Enrollment and External Affairs for UIW’s School of Osteopathic Medicine (UIWSOM). “With my husband at my side, it gave me the opportunity to give God thanks for the tremendous experiences I’ve had at UIW.”

A reception followed the Mass in the Student Engagement Center Ballroom, where UIW President Dr. Thomas Evans, thanked the retirees for the time and talent they shared with the University. To him, these gifts have contributed to the unique community and culture of UIW thus encouraging students and families to become and remain a part of the institution.

The afternoon was full of bittersweet celebration, as members of the community came together to express their gratitude and well wishes to the retirees, for whom retirement is not a goodbye, but a “see you soon.”

“It’s easy to take for granted something that has been a part of you for many years. At UIW, I met great friends who will remain in my life. You don’t need to retire to appreciate this. That’s my lesson learned,” shared Cyterski-Acosta.

UIW thanks the recent retirees for leaving their mark on its history, inspiring future generations and making the University a part of their stories.